Among the more complicated aspects of divorce proceedings are arguments about child custody. The court likely wants to render decisions in the child’s best interests, and such determinations come from examining several factors. Parents dealing with a first-time divorce may be unfamiliar with Georgia child custody proceedings. Therefore, they may lack an understanding of what factors the court explores to determine custody. Reviewing several common factors might provide some clarification.
Fundamental factors reviewed in child custody hearings
“Best interests of the child” seems like a generic, catch-all term, but several components of best interests reveal what this means. A stable home life, for example, could very well be in the child’s best interests. If one parent is prone to abusive or addictive behavior, that parent might not be someone the child should be around in an unsupervised manner.
The child may have unique educational or athletic needs. Imagine a child with great aptitude for being a tennis player, for example. Staying with a parent who lives closer to a school with a top tennis team might be a preferable arrangement.
Moving a child away from familiar surroundings, such as school, friends and local pursuits, could negatively affect the child’s mental and emotional health. A judge might feel that keeping the child in a friendly environment is essential to their well-being.
Looking further to make determinations
The court may consider evaluations from child and adult psychologists when weighing custody determinations. The evaluations may factor into plans to award sole or joint custody or even restrict custody. Hence, the evaluations would need to come from a credible therapist to have merit.
Financial matters could count for a great deal. Does one parent earn enough money to provide an appropriate home life? Living in a studio apartment presents fewer comforts than living in a larger home. While such things might not represent the top consideration, they may still count for a great deal.
Ultimately, every divorce case has its unique components. Parents must understand that the court will examine the particulars of a case when weighing general factors to determine the best possible scenario for the child.
Divorce proceedings involving child custody may prove contentious. Working with a skilled attorney might help a parent’s cause.